Aug 15, 2023

The 2023 SELF Healthy Beauty Awards: 32 Very Good Hair Care Products for Frizz Control, Volume, and a Little Bit of Shine

By Jenna Ryu

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

It can be helpful to think of your hair care routine like a pyramid, with shampoo and conditioner on the bottom (trusty, dependable, doing a nice amount of legwork) and everything else in your rotation (leave-ins, mousses, gels, creams, masks, oils, serums, and sprays) on top. Though you might just use a spritz here and a pump there, these products are often the real game-changers, zhuzhing you up in between washes, helping you nail an at-home blowout, or giving damaged hair and a dry scalp some much-needed TLC.

If you’re wondering which are worth your time and money, look no further than our recs below. For SELF's 2023 Healthy Beauty Awards, 45 testers—all with different hair types and concerns—sampled hundreds of products. After reading their reviews and checking out each item's ingredient label, we hand-picked the 32 best of the year. Let your hair down (heh), and shop them all here.

Want to see more from the 2023 Healthy Beauty Awards? Check out the best shampoo and conditioner, best body care products, and the best makeup.

Courtesy of Pureology

This leave-in from Pureology caters to all hair types, which is probably why so many of our testers adored its frizz-defying results. Testers also used it for midday touch-ups, and raved about the convenient (and purse-friendly) 1 fl. oz. bottle.

Bonus points, per the experts: This spray contains hydrating ingredients like coconut oil and dimethicone, making it a great option for dry, damaged, or color-treated hair.

One tester said: "I really like how versatile this product is! Not only does it detangle your hair, but it also acts as a heat protectant—which is perfect for when I want to blow-dry or use heat styling."

Just so you know: This product contains alcohol, which can irritate dry scalps.

Courtesy of Hair Proud

Applying heat protectant before using a hot tool (like curling wands or blow-dryers) is a must for maintaining healthy hair. We love that this one doesn't just protect: It smooths, detangles, and hydrates too.

Bonus points, per the experts: This product is packed with nourishing coconut and grapeseed oils, along with niacinamide to prevent inflammation and other damage to the scalp.

One tester said: "When I blow-dry my hair after using this product, I don't have to add anything else to style it afterward—it simply looks smooth, shiny, and just more polished."

Courtesy of Inala

We have La La Anthony (and her hair care brand, Inala) to thank for this one. Infused with rice water, this 3-in-1 spray acts as a primer, styler, and refresher, helping to reduce shedding and frizz.

Bonus points, per the experts: This product is oil-free, ideal for people prone to dandruff or dealing with a greasy scalp.

One tester said: "This is such a subtle yet effective and versatile product. It smoothed and defined my waves without making them feel stiff or tacky. My hair felt soft, looked a little shinier, and smelled incredible."

Courtesy of Bask & Bloom Essentials

When just a standard conditioner isn't doing the job, try a leave-in. Testers loved this deeply hydrating pick from Bask & Bloom—a sure-to-be staple for curly- and natural-haired folks craving more moisture.

Bonus points, per the experts: This product contains aloe vera, which can help soothe irritation in dry or flaky scalps, as well as avocado oil to strengthen hair and boost shine.

One tester said: "If you have 3C/4A hair, grab this product! My curls felt so velvety smooth after using it—they looked hydrated and stayed hydrated. Plus there was no buildup, and my hair didn't feel weighed down."

Courtesy of Devacurl

Why, yes, this spray truly does wonders for unruly waves and frizzy curls. Gentle ingredients like glycerin (more on this below) work to reduce breakage and keep hair bouncy and intact—even for color-treated hair.

Bonus points, per the experts: Glycerin hydrates and locks in moisture.

One tester said: "I can attest to the fact that it detangles, boosts curls, moisturizes, and is non-crunchy. It's amazing that one product can do so much."

Courtesy of Fekkai

Rich in nourishing ingredients, this hydrating serum from Fekkai helped our testers achieve reflective shine without a trip to the salon. They also loved that it doubles as a heat protectant and kept frizz in check after blow-drying or straightening.

Bonus points, per the experts: Dimethicone, squalane, and glycerin are three derm-approved ingredients that hug the hair shaft and prevent moisture loss.

One tester said: "With just a quarter-size drop, my hair felt supersmooth and looked very shiny. It not only helped contain frizz but truly worked miracles on my dry, highlighted strands."

Just so you know: This product also contains olive oil, which may weigh down fine or thinning hair.

Courtesy of Garnier

Though no product can actually repair split or dead ends (unfortunately, the only way to get rid of them is a trim), hydrating serums can help hide damage for a healthier look. Our testers loved that this Garnier winner was neither sticky nor greasy—making it just right for everyday wear.

Bonus points, per the experts: It contains dimethicone and honey, both of which can soothe irritation and bring moisture back into dehydrated hair.

One tester said: "I really loved this product, mostly because it does exactly what it claims to do. It smoothed and softened my hair, made it harder to see the tons of split ends I currently have, and smelled incredible."

Courtesy of Shaz & Kiks

Finding the right product to help shape your coils—without leaving them hard and crunchy—is no easy feat. Testers were impressed that Shaz & Kiks's lightweight serum offered structure and shape without making hair feel like a block of cement. They also loved its subtle earthy and herbal fragrance.

Bonus points, per the experts: This product contains hydrolyzed keratin, a volumizing and thickening ingredient.

One tester said: "I found this serum to be super helpful, especially on days where I was using a gel or mousse that isn't moisturizing. Days after washing, my ends still looked less frayed than before."

By Kayla Blanton

By Amy Marturana Winderl, C.P.T.

By Malia Griggs

Just so you know: It also contains coconut oil, which is great for moisturizing natural and curly hair but can weigh down fine or thinning hair.

Courtesy of Carol's Daughter

This Carol's Daughter stretch cream is an ideal option for curly-haired folks looking to fight shrinkage and elongate their kinks, waves, or ringlets. The brand says its rich, creamy formula was made with types 3A to 4C in mind.

Bonus points, per the experts: Shea butter soothes and hydrates to keep frizz away while gently exfoliating the scalp.

One tester said: "I have been searching for a leave-in that defines my curls and also stretches them, and this is it. I have zero complaints—this will 100% be included in my hair care routine from now on."

Courtesy of Fable & Mane

Many expensive hair oils don't work nearly as well as they claim to—or should at that price point—but our testers swear that this one from Fable & Mane is worth it. All you have to do is drop a pea-size amount into damp, towel-dried hair, and voilà! No frizz. Instant gloss. Plus it can double as a heat protectant.

Bonus points, per the experts: You’re bound to get lots of moisture with hydrating oils like castor, coconut, jojoba, and rosemary.

One tester said: "It smells heavenly. A little goes a very long way—the oil is quite thick and can be heavy—so I would recommend 1–2 drops for dry hair."

Courtesy of Aunt Jackie's

Oil isn't just for split, brittle, or dry ends—it's great for your roots too. Apply a few drops of this Aunt Jackie's treatment to your scalp for a soothing refresh that can help stop dandruff.

Bonus points, per the experts: Get ready for the lengthy list of derm-approved ingredients in here: Castor, peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree, jojoba, and rosemary oils all work to moisturize dry or heat-damaged hair.

One tester said: "My hair dried with a nice sheen after using this product. The next day, my scalp also felt clean and moisturized and not stripped at all. I’m definitely going to continue topping off my hair-washing routine with this."

Courtesy of indē wild

Testers loved the sleek and retro look of this Indē wild oil—but its real standout quality was the subtle, floral fragrance. Apply two or three pipettes’ worth to your scalp. You can leave it in for 20 minutes—then wash out with shampoo—or let it sit overnight for an even deeper treatment. Testers said it left their hair "soft and fluffy."

Bonus points, per the experts: This product contains rosemary oil and castor oil, both of which may help with hair growth.

One tester said: "I massaged it into my hair and left it overnight. It didn't leave my scalp feeling super oily, and the smell of the flowers lingered. If you are looking for a new oil, I would definitely recommend. Gorgeous, gorgeous product!"

Courtesy of Aussie

Mousse is a great way to add volume into flat or straight hair, and our testers said this Aussie option is hard to beat. The fluffy texture creates extra bounce and melts evenly into hair, avoiding that clumpy, flaky, or sticky residue we all know and loathe.

By Kayla Blanton

By Amy Marturana Winderl, C.P.T.

By Malia Griggs

Bonus points, per the experts: Derms say aloe can gently exfoliate excess oil and buildup on your scalp.

One tester said: "A multitasking product that will save me time when doing my hair? Yes, please! The mousse did a nice job of conditioning my ends and also bringing out the natural light waves I have without making them look unruly or frizzy."

Courtesy of The Doux

This mousse enhances curls with moisture-rich ingredients like panthenol, fighting frizz and leaving hair soft and tamed. Testers also loved the easy-to-use pump for a mess-free application.

Bonus points, per the experts: Aloe hydrates the scalp, which derms say is especially important for people with natural or kinky hair.

One tester said: "I appreciate that this mousse didn't flake as much as its original formula, and the scent is a lot lighter. There's also a solid amount of product in the tube, which I loved because I have a lot of hair and tend to go through mousse very quickly. My hair felt moisturized for four days after."

Courtesy of Red by Kiss

It looks like an edge brush, it feels like an edge brush, but when you twist and open it (like you would a mascara), you’re in for a fun surprise: A handy-dandy, mini application wand comes out, along with a dab of the biotin-infused hair gel hidden inside the brush's handle. So, yes, we think this is the best edge brush of the year—but it's also so much more than that.

Bonus points, per the experts: Biotin, a water-soluble form of vitamin B, helps maintain all-day hydration.

One tester said: "I don't know how many times I’ve left home and wanted to retouch my edges but was unable to do so. Now I can. The tool is simply ingenious. I adore the brush's slightly pointed tip, which works great for swooping edges and getting into the corners. The comb is an amazing addition, as I use it to sharpen and smoothen my swoops. The smaller brush is ideal for edges, and the gel in the handle of the brush makes this product perfect for on the go travel! As a person with 4A hair, I can say that this gel has great holding power. My edges stay in place, even in humid temperatures or windy weather."

Courtesy of MIZANI

Mizani's balm deserves all the praise for keeping edges in place through rain, sweat, or anything else life might throw your way. Plus it's alcohol-free, which is ideal for people with dry hair.

Bonus points, per the experts: Shea butter gently moisturizes your skin, and castor oil assists with shine and strength.

One tester said: "If you need a product to tame slicked-back styles, this is the one to use! I love the texture, the scent is perfect, and the packaging is also great. Plus my hair stayed put without feeling too stiff."

Courtesy of Batiste

Dry shampoos aren't only for emergency pick-me-ups after sweaty workouts. This spray from Batiste works its magic as you sleep, absorbing all the built-up oil, grease, and residue in your roots. Testers loved waking up with refreshing results in lieu of their bed head—along with a soothing, fruity scent.

By Kayla Blanton

By Amy Marturana Winderl, C.P.T.

By Malia Griggs

Bonus points, per the experts: The hydrolyzed keratin in this spray reduces breakage and maximizes your hair's elasticity, great for anyone with thinning hair.

One tester said: "The difference between this dry shampoo and all the others is that it works by cleaning my hair at night. In the mornings, my hair smells fresh and looks (and feels) clean. All the impurities and oil buildup are gone!"

Courtesy of Living Proof

It's no wonder this hairspray from Living Proof is a cult-favorite: It adds volume, holds a style, and still leaves hair feeling silky smooth—no hard-as-a-rock helmet head here.

Bonus points, per the experts: This product is made without sulfates or silicones, so it shouldn't weigh down fine or thinning hair.

One tester said: "It really does help to tame frizz without leaving my hair feeling sticky or heavy. It also smells incredible."

Courtesy of SheaMoisture

A good curl gel will define your curls. A great curl gel will tame frizz, provide shape, and still feel weightless. For under $10, this wallet-friendly option from SheaMoisture does it all, delivering an extra oomph just as well as any luxury product out there.

Bonus points, per the experts: Along with coconut oil, this gel also uses shea butter to protect hair and seal in moisture.

One tester said: "Another instance where TikTok was right. This gel is really goopy and sticky—which is a good thing, because it can actually keep my curl shape intact. By the time it's fully dry, the stickiness is gone, and I can ‘scrunch the crunch’ to reveal a smoother, voluminous look. It's a lovely reminder that sometimes, the simple and OG methods and brands are the best way to go."

Courtesy of Odele

Testers with wavy hair looking for a bit of body loved that Odele's formula was lightweight and crunch-free. It also works well for taming flyaways, slicking back hair for updos, and adding a little extra control on humid days.

Bonus points, per the experts: This product has hydrating glycerin.

One tester said: "This product is GREAT. The packaging is sleek and the product dispenses very easily, which is always nice. I really like how it makes my hair smooth and less frizzy, and it helps form my waves/curls, especially when air drying. It doesn't leave my hair looking like it's still wet, which is hard to find when it comes to gels. I’ve used it on both damp and dry hair and am pleased with the results for both. I will definitely be recommending this and using it again!"

Courtesy of Bread Beauty Supply

This water-based gel delivers hyper-defined results for all types of kinks and coils, scoring a perfect 10 from testers who described it as "light" and "airy."

Bonus points, per the experts: Hydrating glycerin will help keep curls and coils moisturized.

By Kayla Blanton

By Amy Marturana Winderl, C.P.T.

By Malia Griggs

One tester said: "Gel isn't something I always use, because I’m worried it will give me a never-ending ‘wet’ look. Well, this option from Bread Beauty Supply is super lightweight and left my hair feeling clean—even though I had a fair amount of product in. LOVE!"

Courtesy of Coilbar

A little goes a long way with this rich and creamy curl cream from Coilbar. Testers loved everything about it, from the vibrant green packaging to its non-sticky and smooth consistency.

Bonus points, per the experts: It soothes and hydrates with aloe and glycerin.

One tester said: "I have a very hard time finding products that can maintain my curls throughout the day, and this cream really kept them consistent. Plus it smells amazing!"

Courtesy of Taliah Waajid

This Taliah Waajid mask creates thickening and lengthening results while doubling as a deep nourishing treatment for both scalp and hair.

Bonus points, per the experts: Rosemary oil promotes hair regrowth and is generally safe for all hair types.

One tester said: "This product feels so good! It's rich without feeling heavy, and it has a nice scent that isn't too overpowering."

Courtesy of Sunday II Sunday

Don't be fooled: This is no ordinary dry shampoo. In fact, it's not one at all. This "refresh" spray works by using micellar water and apple cider vinegar to actually cleanse your scalp between washes—and thus leaves no powdery residue. Testers said it's a must-have for sweaty folks, workout fanatics, or anyone who simply wants to avoid dealing with an Everything Shower.

Bonus points, per the experts: This spray is sulfate-free, making it ideal for fine, thinning, or dehydrated hair. It also uses green tea extract to soothe the scalp.

One tester said: "Dry shampoo doesn't usually work on my sweaty roots, but this alternative is my new go-to after workouts. It's light, combats smells with a fresh (but not perfume-y) scent, and doesn't leave hair feeling sticky or stiff."

Courtesy of Not Your Mother's

Testers said that this hydrating mask from Not Your Mother's seemed to repair their damaged hair, restoring strength to even the driest of strands. Plus they say you’ll fall in love with the refreshing, subtle hint of jasmine.

Bonus points, per the experts: This product contains avocado oil to nourish and hydrate curls.

One tester said: "I could see a pretty noticeable difference in the health of my hair after just one use: My wave pattern was definitely more defined and still took well to other curl-care products afterward. It's a great mask for when your curls start to look a bit flat or frizzy."

Courtesy of Vegamour

Sometimes, a leave-in conditioner—or even something heavier like an oil—isn't enough to remedy damaged, brittle, or dull-looking hair. If you need stronger reinforcement, our testers recommend this mega-moisturizing conditioning mask from Vegamour. After one use, they achieved a glass-like shine. The best part? It takes only 5 to 10 minutes to work its magic.

By Kayla Blanton

By Amy Marturana Winderl, C.P.T.

By Malia Griggs

Bonus points, per the experts: The key to repairing dry hair is hydration, hydration, and hydration. Ultramoisturizing ingredients like coconut oil provide just that.

One tester said: "This product felt really luxurious and ritzy, from the scent to the packaging to the texture. As for how it worked, my hair felt so freaking soft afterward and dried smoothly without frizz."

Just so you know: Coconut oil is great for thick or coarse hair but can weigh down fine hair.

Courtesy of Slip

Traditional hair ties can tug and damage hair. These silk alternatives are the perfect way to avoid breakage (and creases too).

One tester said: "They stretch with ease, don't pull at my knots, and are honestly really cute. I’d recommend these for anyone who can't seem to find a good option that's not a basic elastic or full-on scrunchie."

Courtesy of Pattern Beauty

The great thing about this 2-in-1 brush—brought to you by the Tracee Ellis Ross—is that it detangles pesky knots and finesses stray strands for all hair types (dry or wet, thin or thick, straight or curly) thanks to its premium boar and nylon fibers.

One tester said: "This is an excellent brush for anyone who wants to tame frizz and flatten flyaways for a sleek look. Plus it's excellent for sweeping your hair up in a bun or high ponytail."

Courtesy of Wet Brush

This Wet Brush is designed to glide through fragile, damp strands without creating damage. Thanks to heat-resistant bristles and a unique vented design, you can use it safely while blow-drying too.

One tester said: "I’ve used a knockoff Wet Brush for the last couple years, so I jumped at the chance to try the real thing. Unsurprisingly, it was a huge upgrade from my Amazon dupe. I rarely, if ever, felt it snag in my hair, and I could feel it pulling water away from my hair after a shower. It has a denser set of bristles than my knockoff, which I think makes it more effective in terms of drying and detangling. And the Go Green version is a really cute shade of pastel green!"

Courtesy of Oribe Hair

Our testers were excited to take this expensive Oribe brush for a spin. The verdict? Yes, it's around 10 times the price of a standard one—and yes, it really is 10 times better. If you’re willing to splurge on your next "forever" brush, you’ll be getting what you pay for here, with a rock-solid construction, real boar bristles, and rounded nylon pins that smooth all hair types without breakage.

One tester said: "This is the fanciest brush I’ve ever used on my head. Growing up with curly hair, I could only sometimes brush my hair in the shower to avoid it becoming a ‘rat's nest,’ as my family so lovingly put it. I recently felt like I’ve been missing out on the benefits of brushing my hair regularly, so I wanted to give it a try. This brush has honestly changed everything. The brush itself is beautiful and the bristles are pleasantly scratchy. It feels like a scalp massage but is also gentle on my strands—I never felt like I was ripping at my hair or snagging it. The weirdest thing is that after brushing thoroughly for a while, my curls went pretty much back to normal (after running through with my hands). The way the oils at my roots were distributed down to the ends really helped to balance everything out, leaving my curls shiny and healthy-looking."

Courtesy of Act + Acre

Not only can this comb tame hair on its knottiest days, but it also offers great stimulation to your scalp—think of it like a DIY massage tool. Our curly-haired tester said it was an excellent option for wash day.

One tester said: "I wanted a comb that does well when wet, detangles without pulling, looks cute on my shower shelf, and is easy to travel with. This one checks every single one of my boxes—the color is neutral but still shiny and fun, it comes in a dreamy felt carrying case, and it's totally waterproof."

Courtesy of Ecoslay

Like a silk pillowcase, a satin bonnet protects hair from frizz, breakage, and tangling as you sleep. This affordable option from Ecoslay stays on all night—and you won't wake up with a line on your forehead, either. Another standout: It's so chic, you won't want to take it off in the morning.

One tester said: "This is the most fashionable bonnet on the market! It feels silky smooth and has vibrant colors and patterns to work with everything in your evening wardrobe."

The Best Leave-In Spray: Pureology Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-In Spray Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: Just so you know: The Best Heat Protectant: Hair Proud All Inclusive 5 in 1 Protection Milk Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Leave-In Styler: Inala Triple-Threat Tonic Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Leave-In for Natural Hair: Bask & Bloom Essentials Ease Leave-In Conditioner Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Curl Mist: Devacurl Mist of Wonders Leave-In Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Serum for Straight and Wavy Hair: Fekkai Brilliant Gloss Glass Hair Anti-Frizz Oil Serum One tester said: Just so you know: The Best Split Ends Serum: Garnier Whole Blends Hair Honey Repairing Serum Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Serum for Curly, Coily, and Natural Hair: Shaz & Kiks Moringa Anti-Breakage Serum with Peptide Complex Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: Just so you know: The Best Curl Stretch Cream: Carol's Daughter Goddess Strength True Stretch Defining Cream Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Hair Oil (Splurge): Fable & Mane Mahamane Smooth and Shine Hair Oil Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Hair Oil: Aunt Jackie's Elixir Essentials: Collagen & Tea Tree Hair & Scalp Oil Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Scalp Oil: Indē wild Champi Hair Oil Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Mousse for Straight to Wavy Hair: Aussie Sprunch Mousse and Leave-In Conditioner Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Mousse for Curly, Coily, and Natural Hair: The Doux CrazySexyCurl Honey Setting Foam Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Edge Brush: Red by Kiss Edge Cara 4 In 1 Edge Styling Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Edge Gel: Mizani Artful Edges Edge Tamer Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Dry Shampoo: Batiste Overnight Deep Cleanse Dry Shampoo Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Hairspray: Living Proof No-Frizz Smooth Styling Spray Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Curl Gel: SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Styling Gel Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Soft Hold Gel: Odele Flex Hair Gel Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Gel for Coils and Natural Hair: Bread Beauty Supply hair-gel Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Curl Cream: Coilbar Identity Shift Curl Defining Flaxseed Gel Cream Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Scalp Mask: Taliah Waajid Scalp Care Follicle Therapy Treatment Masque Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Refresh Spray: Sunday II Sunday Root Refresh Micellar Rinse Dry Shampoo Alternative Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Mask for Natural or Curly Hair: Not Your Mother's Curl Talk Bond Building Mask Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Mask for Dry or Damaged Hair: Vegamour HYDR-8 Deep Moisture Repair Mask Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: Just so you know: The Best Hair Ties: Slip Light Brown Skinny Scrunchies One tester said: The Best Smoothing Brush: Pattern Beauty double-sided bristle brush One tester said: The Best Detangling Brush: Wet Brush Go Green Speed Dry Detangler One tester said: The Best Dual Bristle Brush (Splurge): Oribe Hair Italian Resin Flat Brush One tester said: The Best Comb: Act + Acre Detangling Hair Comb One tester said: The Best Satin Bonnet: Ecoslay Satin Bonnet One tester said: